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Lawsuit targets Ocwen over fees, seeks class action

detroitnews.com | November 7, 2014

By Dan Levine

Nov 6 (Reuters) - Mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial Corp faced a lawsuit this week over accusations it committed fraud by overcharging borrowers in order to drive up its own profits, according to a court filing.

The case, filed on Wednesday in a California federal court, was brought by a borrower who said Ocwen charged him fees for an escrow account he never authorized. It alleges several claims, including civil racketeering, as well as unspecified damages and seeks class action status.

A representative for Ocwen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Atlanta-based mortgage servicer has faced criticism over its practices for months. In February, New York state financial regulator Benjamin Lawsky stopped Ocwen from buying servicing rights on 184,000 home loans with a total principal balance of $39 billion from Wells Fargo & Co. He then asked for information about potential conflicts of interest that might encourage Ocwen to push borrowers into foreclosure.

Last month Lawsky sparked a selloff in Ocwen shares when he said the company may have harmed hundreds of thousands of borrowers by sending backdated letters about loan modifications and foreclosures.

The civil lawsuit filed this week said Ocwen's practices "exemplify how America's lending industry has run off the rails."

The case in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California is David Weiner vs. Ocwen Financial Corporation and Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, 14-2597.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Diane Craft)

 

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